Howard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Tuskegee University and Hampton University are recipients of major donations that reportedly amount to the largest contributions to the HBCUs in their respective histories.
According to CBS News, Howard and Hampton said that the funds came from MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, who announced that she was giving $1.7 billion to charity. Officials from Xavier said the donor to their school was anonymous, but Scott said that she had donated to it as well.
Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University thanked Scott in a statement, which said the money would go to improve the school’s infrastructure and other programs.
“We plan to immediately put this eight-figure gift to good use to support components of our 5-year strategic plan to help students graduate on time, retain our talented faculty, enhance our campus infrastructure and support academic innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Frederick.
Howard did not specify the amount it was given, but Xavier said it was given $20 million, CBS News reported.
“This gift will enhance the university's capacity to educate in the medical sciences, pharmacy, law, the arts, and the social sciences,” Reynold Verret, Xavier’s president said in a statement.
Hampton University also declined to reveal the specific amount they received, but said the money would go toward scholarships, campus upgrades and other uses, according to the school’s president William Harvey.
“This pure act of benevolence is clearly a game changer and it could not have come at a better time,” said Harvey in a statement. “I speak for the entire Hampton University community when I say we are grateful to Ms. MacKenzie Scott, who has chosen to support us during this unprecedented period of uncertainty.”
Tuskegee said that the funds donated by Scott will also go toward scholarships and programming for the university.
“We will focus on student scholarships, faculty and curriculum development, interdisciplinary programs, and campus infrastructure improvements,” said president Lily McNair in a statement. “The gift will allow us to become the Tuskegee of the 21st century – a university that integrates knowledge, leadership and service to solve the problems of a global, modern society.”